Five football biographies you ought to read

International weeks are generally boring but, thankfully, Harry Redknapp’s autobiography is published today and if you’ve been keeping up to speed with its serialisation in a popular newspaper, you’ll know it makes for some explosive reading.

In this day and age footballers publish books with the same frequency with which they change girlfriends – Wayne Rooney has already published TWO biographies – but Harry’s book got us wondering which football biographies are worth a read.

In no particular order, here’s some of our favourites.

1) Managing My Life – Sir Alex Ferguson

Released 12 months after Fergie had led Manchester United to a historic Treble, the book, just like the man himself, takes no prisoners. From his playing days in Glasgow, to his first steps into management – yes, even Fergie was a novice once! – the book is absolutely compelling, whether you liked the man or not.

The only drawback of Sir Alex’s biography is that so much has happened since Fergie shelved his retirement plans at the start of the Millennium, than some crucial incidents in the Scotsman’s career aren’t included.

This edition, however, is still as brutal as it was when it was released, particularly if you’re Gordon Strachan or Paul “You’re a fuckin’ bottler who cannae handle the big stage” Ince.

A new, post-retirement and likely to be explosive book is due this autumn as Fergie prepares to lift the lid on his 26-year reign at Manchester United.

2) I am Zlatan – Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The book, much like his author doesn’t need an introduction. The Swede is nobody’s idea of a diplomat on the pitch and after reading his book, we can safely affirm that he’s as sharp with words as he’s on the field.

Having played for some of Europe’s biggest and most famous clubs and having won league titles in four different countries, Ibrahimovic’s biography is just as you’d expect the PSG man to be – honest and, dare we say it, arrogant.

Clearly not one to buy into team talks “Guardiola started his philosopher thing. I was barely listening. Why would I? It was advanced bullshit about blood, sweat and tears, that kind of stuff” Ibrahimovic reserves a whole, scathing chapter on his relationship – or rather, lack of – with Pep Guardiola.

And just in case, you ever fancy including him in your Sunday league team, remember that “An injured Zlatan is a pretty serious thing for any team.” 

3) Cloughie Walking on Water - Brian Clough

As big a character as English football as seen, Cloughie’s biography is a fascinating read regardless of where your allegiances lie. From his playing days – during which he netted a remarkable 251 goals in 274 appearances for Middlesbrough and Sunderland – to his managerial success with Derby County and Nottingham Forest, Clough’s book is as candid and honest as the man himself.

His highly turbulent 44-day spell at Leeds United is tackled with straightforward approach the former Forest manager was renowned for, as is his battle with alcohol and his final days at Forest.

From his verdict on the TV-driven football overdose ”You don’t want roast beef and Yorkshire every night and twice on Sunday” to trigger-happy chairmen ”If a chairman sacks the manager he initially appointed, he should go as well” Clough’s views on the modern game are simply riveting.

4) Carra: My Autobiography – Jamie Carragher

A man revered on the Red half of Merseyside, Jamie Carragher’s reputation took a nosedive upon the release of his autobiography, where the former Liverpool defender claimed that missing a penalty for England didn’t hurt as much as losing with his club.

“The Liver Bird mauled the Three Lions in the fight for my loyalties. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, it’s just how it is. You can’t make yourself feel more passionate if the feelings aren’t there. That doesn’t make me feel guilty.

If people want to condemn me and say I’m unpatriotic, so be it.”

Controversial, but refreshingly honest.

5) Keane: The Autobiography – Roy Keane

I’d waited long enough. I fucking hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you c*nt. And don’t ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries.”

In the most famous passage of his autobiographies, Keane reflects with customary poise on his tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland which earned him a five-match ban and a £150,000 fine, but the Norwegian midfielder is only one of the many targeted by the Irishman in his book.

Never one afraid to speak his mind, Keane fires on some of his former team-mates at United, opponents and, perhaps most famously, former Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy.

“Mick, you’re a liar… you’re a fucking wanker. I didn’t rate you as a player, I don’t rate you as a manager, and I don’t rate you as a person. You’re a fucking wanker and you can stick your World Cup up your arse. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country! You can stick it up your bollocks.”

And you wondered why there’s tension in the air during ITV’s coverage of England games…

Which is your favourite football biography? Let us know below or get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter

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